Reicher, V., Bálint, A., Újváry, D. et al.2022. Non-invasive sleep EEG measurement in hand raised wolves. Scientific Reports 12(1), 9792.

Sleep research greatly benefits from comparative studies to understand the underlying physiological and environmental factors affecting the different features of sleep, also informing us about the possible evolutionary changes shaping them. Recently, the domestic dog became an exceedingly valuable model species in sleep studies, as the use of non-invasive polysomnography methodologies enables direct comparison with human sleep data. In this study, we applied the same polysomnography protocol to record the sleep of dog’s closest wild relative, the wolf. We measured the sleep of seven captive (six young and one senior), extensively socialized wolves using a fully non-invasive sleep EEG methodology, originally developed for family dogs. We provide the first descriptive analysis of the sleep macrostructure and NREM spectral power density of wolves using a completely non-invasive methodology. For (non-statistical) comparison, we included the same sleep data of similarly aged dogs. Although our sample size was inadequate to perform statistical analyses, we suggest that it may form the basis of an international, multi-site collection of similar samples using our methodology, allowing for generalizable, unbiased conclusions. As we managed to register both macrostructural and spectral sleep data, our procedure appears to be suitable for collecting valid data in other species too, increasing the comparability of non-invasive sleep studies.

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